916 F.2d 1140 (7th Cir. 1990), 88-3232, Trautvetter v. Quick

Docket Nº:88-3232.
Citation:916 F.2d 1140
Party Name:Patsy L. TRAUTVETTER, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. John B. QUICK, Individually and as Principal of Hymera Elementary School; Northeast School Corporation; Richard D. Walters, Individually and as Superintendent of the Northeast School Corporation; Donald R. Tinchner, Individually and as Assistant Superintendent of the Northeast School Corporation; Board
Case Date:October 12, 1990
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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916 F.2d 1140 (7th Cir. 1990)

Patsy L. TRAUTVETTER, Plaintiff-Appellant,


John B. QUICK, Individually and as Principal of Hymera

Elementary School; Northeast School Corporation; Richard

D. Walters, Individually and as Superintendent of the

Northeast School Corporation; Donald R. Tinchner,

Individually and as Assistant Superintendent of the

Northeast School Corporation; Board of Trustees of

Northeast Corporation; and Howard Turner, James Case,

Ronald Hughes, Ronald Frye, and Larry Reynolds, All

Individually and in their capacities as Members of the Board

of Trustees of the Northeast School District, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 88-3232.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

October 12, 1990

Argued June 6, 1989.

As Amended Nov. 1, 1990.

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Robert F. Hunt, Frey, Hunt, Hassler & Lorenz, Terre Haute, Ind., for plaintiff-appellant.

Peter G. Tamulonis, Donald L. Dawson, Robert M. Kelso, John B. Drummy, Kightlinger & Gray, Indianapolis, Ind., for defendants-appellees.

Before CUDAHY, MANION, and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

KANNE, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-appellant, Patsy L. Trautvetter, brought an action in the district court in which she alleged that the defendants had engaged in sexual discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 253, as amended 42 U.S.C. Secs. 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. Secs. 1983 and 1985(3). 1 Count I of her amended complaint

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alleged that the defendants had engaged in and/or condoned acts of sexual harassment which deprived her of her constitutional rights under Sec. 1983. In addition, Count I alleged that the defendants had conspired to achieve this result, thus depriving her of those same rights under Sec. 1985(3). Count II of the amended complaint alleged that the defendants' sexual harassment had resulted in a violation of Title VII. After discovery, the defendants moved for summary judgment on both counts. Concluding that there were no genuine issues of material fact regarding Trautvetter's allegations of sexual discrimination, the district court granted that motion. Finding no error in that disposition of this case, we affirm.


The following factual account is drawn from the uncontroverted deposition testimony and affidavits of the various parties and their proposed witnesses. In light of the standard under which we review this case, the specific factual allegations which are disputed in the affidavits have been resolved in favor of the plaintiff. See Puckett v. Soo Line R.R. Co., 897 F.2d 1423 (7th Cir.1990).

In the fall of 1975, Patsy Trautvetter began her first year of teaching in the Northeast School Corporation in Sullivan County, Indiana. In 1982, after six years of full-time teaching and one year of maternity leave, she was assigned to teach first grade at Hymera Elementary School. Beginning in the fall of 1985, Ms. Trautvetter returned to Hymera Elementary after a second maternity leave to teach second grade. She has since been teaching at Hymera Elementary continuously. Defendant, John Quick, began his term as the principal of Hymera Elementary in 1981 and, as such, was at all times relevant to these proceedings Trautvetter's immediate supervisor. 2

Beginning late in the 1985-86 school year and continuing into the 1986-87 school year, Quick made a number of romantic overtures towards Ms. Trautvetter. Initially, she put off these advances by either politely saying "no" or simply "laughing them off." Eventually, however, she began to respond to Quick's romantic suggestions. Indeed, the record reveals that Trautvetter became involved in a sexual relationship with Quick in which both parties participated actively. The "courtship" proceeded as follows.

Quick's first romantic overture towards Ms. Trautvetter occurred on the final day of the 1985-86 school year. A group of teachers, including Ms. Trautvetter and Mr. Quick, had gone out for the evening and eventually ended up at a local bar. Trautvetter left the bar early. After she had arrived home, however, she called the bar and asked that Quick be paged so she could explain to him, for the benefit of another teacher, a joke which had been played on the latter. During the course of that conversation, Quick asked Trautvetter whether her family was home. She responded that they were not. Quick thereafter asked her if she would like to "play house." She replied "no."

Later that fall, during a school dance which both Quick and Ms. Trautvetter were chaperoning, Quick came up beside Trautvetter and placed one of his hands next to one of hers such that the two were touching. Ms. Trautvetter testified that she moved her hand away without saying anything. At a second school dance that fall, Quick asked Ms. Trautvetter where her family was that evening. She replied that her children were at her grandparents and that her husband was at work. Quick asked if she would like to go out and "share a bottle of wine." Trautvetter simply ignored Quick's invitation. In like manner, Trautvetter ignored or laughed off other invitations which she received from Quick that fall to go out for drinks. At no

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point, however, did she indicate to Mr. Quick that she thought his conduct was inappropriate.

In November Mr. Quick was hospitalized for a brief period. On one occasion, Ms. Trautvetter and her sister stopped in to see him. She also testified that she took a milkshake to him at another time. On a third occasion, she had gone to the hospital apparently for the purpose of taking Mr. Quick school papers which needed to be signed. Mr. Quick was not in his room at this time. In addition, Ms. Trautvetter made a number of phone calls to Mr. Quick while he was in the hospital. With regard to these calls, she testified that it was easier for her to call than other teachers in the school because her calls, unlike those of the other teachers, would not be long distance.

Early in 1987, Ms. Trautvetter stayed home from school with her sick daughter. Mr. Quick telephoned her that evening to ask whether she would be at school the following day. During the course of that phone conversation, Quick stated that he liked to "keep check on [his] teachers." On a separate occasion early that spring, Trautvetter testified that Quick sent her a note after she had interrupted a meeting which Quick was having with a student's parent. In that note, Quick apologized for being "short" with her during that encounter. He also stated, "you mean too much to me to hurt." In a separate note to Trautvetter, Quick wrote, "hot pink is unfair." On one other occasion during this same period, Quick approached Ms. Trautvetter during an organized volleyball game among the teachers and parents and told her that she should play on the other team so he could see her "bounce." Ms. Trautvetter, rather than objecting, said nothing and walked across the court to play on the other team.

Ms. Trautvetter recalled one instance in which Mr. Quick had called her that spring. His first words (beyond "hello") were "Who do you love? Who do you love?" Trautvetter responded, "Yes, I love you." She testified that she felt she had to say it. 3 The record reveals, however, that this was not the only time that Trautvetter told Quick that she loved him. She testified that Quick, on numerous other occasions, would state, "I love you. Do you love me?" Her response on these occasions was, "Yes, I love you."

On March 13, 1987, Ms. Trautvetter telephoned Mr. Quick and asked him "what was going on." Quick responded that he had feelings for her and suggested that they get together and talk about it. She agreed to join him and the two subsequently arranged to meet in the parking lot of a local business establishment during spring break. Although the meeting lasted about an hour, Trautvetter testified that no physical contact occurred. Mr. Quick did, however, tell Trautvetter that since they were in a motel parking lot he could get a room and they could "settle this now." Trautvetter simply responded "no." Again, however, she did not tell Quick that she thought his conduct was inappropriate.

Between March and April of 1987, Quick and Trautvetter engaged in numerous conversations, both over the phone and at school. Some of these conversations were business related, some were personal in nature. Those conversations which were personal in nature consisted of Quick asking Trautvetter how she felt, what she was doing, and "what [she] thought about meeting with him again." Trautvetter testified that she told Quick on those occasions that it was "hard for [her] to get out, that type thing."

In April of 1987, the two agreed to meet on at least two occasions at an abandoned school building in Colemont, Indiana; an out-of-the-way place about which Quick had told her. According to Trautvetter, she and Quick would drive around the surrounding countryside, kissing and petting along the way. On one of these occasions,

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Quick asked Trautvetter if he could fondle her breasts. She let him do so. Again, at no time either prior to or during this encounter did Ms. Trautvetter tell Quick that she thought his conduct was inappropriate.

At some point in April, Ms. Trautvetter gave Quick a tape of a love song. She testified that she did so because Quick had earlier given a tape of a song to her. The record reveals, however, that Ms. Trautvetter also called a radio station and requested that "their song" be played over the air. She called Mr. Quick and told him to listen for it.

Later that spring, Mr. Quick went to Ms. Trautvetter's house after a "confrontation" he had had with Mr. Walters, the school superintendent. Mr. Quick was concerned that he had overstepped his bounds with Mr. Walters in an earlier meeting. Trautvetter testified that Mr. Quick told her on this occasion that Mr. Turner, a board member with the school corporation, did not like...

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